Blakeley State Park sets on the beautiful Tensaw River, near the town of Spanish Fort in Baldwin County.
Baldwin Couty is located in the southwestern part of the state, on the Gulf Coast on the eastern side of Mobile Bay.
Covering more than 3,800 acres, it is considered to be the largest site on National Register of Historic Places east of the Mississippi River.
It is unique from the other State Parks in the state, as it is operated differently.
It helps to preserve historic acreage that was extremely important to both the Native Americas located there, as well as the Civil War.
This historic park contains some artifacts the played a major role in the Battle of Fort Blakeley.
Because of this, it makes it one of the best preserved and maintained Civil War battlefields not only in the south, but the entire nation.
There are only two “Class A” battlefields in the State, and this is one of them, and it carries a special meaning.
This meaning includes the following:
This historic park also provides educational and recreational opportunities for you and your family.
The history of the Blakeley State Park begins with the town, and in the 1700’s, a French colonial plantation became the first non-Indian settlement in the area.
The Indian tribes that lived in the area now called the Gulf Coast and Mobile Bay belonged to one of two cultures: the Atakapa or the Muscogee’s.
The Muscogee Creek were associated with mound centers, such as the ones found in Moundsville and Etowah.
In the year 1814, the town of Blakeley was founded on the riverfront, and was started by Josiah Blakeley.
He purchased over 7,000 acres of land from the northeastern portion of Mobile Bay, and it was officially incorporated in the State in 1820.
His dream was to make it a port city, and once it was settled, it quickly became a very busy center of early commerce.
It included a courthouse, hotels, stores and warehouses, as well as the all-important docks.
It was also the first county seat of Baldwin County, and in the early days was larger than Mobile.
It thrived and flourished as a competitor to Mobile, until disaster hit.
In the 1820’s, yellow fever decimated the population of the town, and remained virtually empty until the Civil War.
During the Civil War, the Confederate Army built Fort Blakeley on the grounds, that would over 100 years later become a Stae Park.
On April 9,1865, only six hours after General Rebert E. Lee had surrendered, it was the site of one of the last major battles of this bloody war.
4,000 confederate troops were attacked and defeated by a 4-1 ratio, and each spring the park re-enacts a living history of this event.
However, other than the well-preserved Civil War fortifications, there is little evidence of the actual site.
The only evidence of the town itself are the ancient oak trees, and gravestones in the old cemetery.
The Creation of Blakeley State Park
The creation of Blakeley State Park all started in 1976, when a group of civic leaders formed a private nonprofit foundation.
It was called the Historic Blakeley Foundation, and their priority was to acquire land and establish the park and manage it.
Private land donations as well as public funding aided in purchasing, as well as numerous contributions.
Then in 1990, the park received a huge gift, as the International Paper Company donated 1,000 acres, and in 1998, 400 more acres were added.
These additional acres were purchased through the Forever Wild Program.
This state park is different than the other state parks in Alabama, even though it receives money from the state, it does not operate it.
It is not operated by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, but instead the Historic Blakeley Authority.
There are numerous sites to see and places to stay at the Blakeley State Park, and they include the following.
Leading the list of the sites to see at the Blakeley State Park are the hiking trails, and there are over 20 miles of them.
Al the trails are marked, and there are over 40 different trails for you and your family to choose from.
Some of the most popular include the Redoubt Trail Loop, the Blakeley Loop, the Forever Wild Nature Trail, and the Battlefield Loop Trail.
There is also Hallett’s’ Squirrel Nest Trail and the Shay Branch Blakeley Trail.
These trails will range from .3 miles to over 2 miles in length
Horse Trails are next, and there are over a dozen miles that are accessible for horses, and there is convenient parking for your truck and trailer.
The places to stay at the park include cabins, and there are two sets of them that are very nice.
The first is the Sibley and Peters cabins, named after two prominent residents of the town in the late 1800’s.
They are located in a secluded area and offer scenic wilderness views that are gorgeous and have all the amenities.
This includes satellite TV, a fridge, stove, and microwave, and in additional to the bedroom, there is a loft with bunk beds.
The Hall and Kennedy Cabins are designed for families and has a master bedroom as well as a second bedroom with bunk beds.
It also has a full kitchen, and both cabins have a deck, picnic table, and a grill.
Next on the list is campgrounds, and the park has three of them.
The first is for tents with water and power, and the second is for revelational vehicles with all the utilities.
The third is for pop-up trailers.
The final item on the list of things to do at the Blakeley State Park is something you will not find anywhere else, Cruises.
The Tensaw River Delta is the largest river Delta and wetland in Alabama and covers over 260,000 acres.
Because of this, there are several cruises you and your family can take.
You will find the wetland habitats are home to alligators, the rare, red-bellied turtle, ospreys and bald eagles.
The Delta Explorer is the longest running boat tour operator of the Delta, and there are several exciting cruises for you and your family to enjoy.
They include the Delta Adventure cruise, the Port of Mobile cruise, as well as the Voyage to Bayou Canot.
There are several other short cruises as well.
If you and your family are in the southern part of the State, this is a smut-see visit.
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